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Catch 22: The Final Frontier


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#1 mabrowndog


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Posted 09 September 2010 - 09:17 AM

This may well be an exercise in futility, but until the math says it's over I feel compelled to continue the quest (or at least the inquest). The Sox now have 22 games left, the Rays have 23, with 6.5 games separating them in the wild card.

Stranger things have happened. And this is where inspiration (and extreme idealistic hope) kicks in. Here are the NL standings on the morning of September 9, 1964 -- exactly 46 years ago:

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The Cardinals began the stretch run playing 18 -- EIGHTEEN! -- straight road games. They played .500 ball in the first 10 over that span, while their rivals essentially maintained the status quo. And after losing 2 of 3 to the Reds, they'd fallen a half-game further back of Philly. Here's where things stood at the close of play on 9/20/64:

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We'll let Wikipedia's paraphrasing of David Halberstam's October 1964 tell the rest:

On September 20, Philadelphia was 90-60 and led the National League by 6.5 games with only twelve games to go. A pennant seemed assured. The Phillies even started taking applications for World Series tickets. Then came the infamous "Phillie Phold". The Phold started on September 21, when Philadelphia lost 1-0 to Cincinnati with the only run scoring on a steal of home. The Phils were swept in three games by Cincinnati, who crept to within 3Ĺ games of first place. Then they were swept in four games by Milwaukee. On the 25th the Braves beat Philly in 12 innings. On the 26th they beat Philly by scoring three in the top of the ninth. On the 27th Milwaukee beat the Phils 14-8, extending their losing streak to seven games and dropping them out of first place for the first time in two months. Philadelphia was one game behind Cincinnati, while the Cardinals, who'd gone 6-1 during Philadelphia's streak, were in third place, 1.5 games back. The Phillies were feeling the pressure and making mistakes on the bases; in one fifteen-game stretch, 10 Phillies were thrown out trying to take an extra base.

St. Louis and Philadelphia met for a crucial three-game series starting in St. Louis on Sept. 28. The Cardinals won the first game 5-1, vaulting past Philly into second place, one game behind the idle Reds, with the Phils 1.5 games back. On the 29th the Cards beat the Phils 4-2 behind a strong start from Sadecki, and Cincinnati lost to visiting Pittsburgh. The Cardinals were in first place for the first time all year, tied with the Reds, with Philly 1.5 games back. On the 30th the Cardinals beat the Phillies again, 8-5, with Curt Simmons beating Bunning. Cincinnati lost to Pittsburgh at home again, and the Cardinals had sole possession of first place. Philadelphia had lost ten in a row and the Cardinals had won eight in a row.

The Cardinals lost 1-0 on October 2 at home to the terrible Mets while the Phillies beat the host Reds to finally snap their losing streak. On the 3rd the Cardinals lost again to the Mets while the Phillies and Reds remained idle. St. Louis and Cincinnati were tied for first place with 92-69 records, while Philadelphia was one game behind at 91-70. On the last day of the season, October 4, the Phillies beat the Reds at Cincinnati again, but the Cardinals beat the visiting Mets 11-5 to win the pennant by one game, with a 93-69 record. The "Phold" is remembered as one of the worst late-season collapses in baseball history. The Cardinals, having won their first pennant since 1946, would go on to face the mighty Yankees in the World Series.


So let's look at the present and future. Here are the remaining schedules (3-game sets except as noted):

TBR (12 H, 11 A) ---- @TOR, NYY, LAA, @NYY (4), SEA, BAL, @KCR (4)

BOS (9 H, 13 A) ---- @OAK, @SEA, TOR, BAL, @NYY, @CWS (4), NYY

For each, the balance of the season pretty much breaks down to two polar opposite stretches in terms of difficulty. The Sox have 12 games vs teams playing .446 ball, followed by 10 games against .595 competition. Tampa Bay has 13 games vs .565 teams and closes out with 10 against dregs playing .395 ball. Boston gets an extra off day (on 9/23).

If the Sox go 10-2 while TBR goes 3-10, Boston would take a one-game WC lead. You have to figure TB goes no worse than 7-3 over its last 10, meaning the Sox would have to be at least 6-4 against the final gauntlet to force a one-game playoff.

As I said, stranger things have happened...

Edited by mabrowndog, 09 September 2010 - 09:20 AM.


#2 jon abbey


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Posted 09 September 2010 - 09:53 AM

Wouldn't NY still be the better target despite their two game lead in the loss column, because of the six head-to-head games left and their way tougher overall remaining schedule than TB? Boston would probably need to sweep the six head-to-head games at this point (maybe 5-1 would work), but then you'd be looking at only needing to make up 3 games in the other 16.

#3 Buffalo Head

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 10:38 AM

Wouldn't NY still be the better target despite their two game lead in the loss column, because of the six head-to-head games left and their way tougher overall remaining schedule than TB? Boston would probably need to sweep the six head-to-head games at this point (maybe 5-1 would work), but then you'd be looking at only needing to make up 3 games in the other 16.

The Yankees' next 13 games are not a cake-walk. at TEX, TB, BAL then four at home with the Rays before the Red Sox come in on the 24th. Would 6-7 be out of the question? Could the Sox play 8-4 over the same stretch (at OAK, SEA then TOR, BAL at home)? Not an impossible scenario. They'd still have to sweep all six games, but at least they'd control their own destiny with 10 to play. I'd sign for that today.

Hey, it almost happened in 2000.

#4 JimD

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 11:44 AM

Since Pedey went on the disabled list on June 26th, the best record the Sox have compiled over any ten-game stretch has been 7-3, so letís say they are (sort of) realistically capable of going 16-6 over the last 22 games

That would require the Rays to go 10-13 just to allow the Sox to tie them (which would actually be an 11-17 finish given their four losses in the past five games). Not impossible, but highly unlikely.

We need a completely ridiculous, Rockies 2007-type finish to really have any kind of shot.

#5 bob burda

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 12:16 PM

Since Pedey went on the disabled list on June 26th, the best record the Sox have compiled over any ten-game stretch has been 7-3, so letís say they are (sort of) realistically capable of going 16-6 over the last 22 games

That would require the Rays to go 10-13 just to allow the Sox to tie them (which would actually be an 11-17 finish given their four losses in the past five games). Not impossible, but highly unlikely.

We need a completely ridiculous, Rockies 2007-type finish to really have any kind of shot.


The Rockies' crazy '07 finish, or the Orioles' '74 (just choose whatever unconscious hot comeback Sept team you want) are one way to go, or you can go with the "opponent's epic tank" model, like the'78 Red Sox and in some ways the '00 Yanks - maybe the '05 Cardinals, too who REALLY flirted with disaster before winning on the last weekend (and I shouldn't be leaving out the '07 &'08 Mets, huh?). The '78 Sox lost 14 of 17 in one stretch. The '00 Yanks I believe lost 15 of 18. Yikes - those are extended periods of bad play.

The thing is, these epic collapses come without warning. I think both those Red Sox and Yankee teams were playing quite well until the dive - it wasn't like there was some great harbinger of doom. Looking back you can probably see where the seams were starting to give, but in the moment I don't think there was some big warning bell going off for these clubs.

I like the "opponent tanks" model better now because I don't think this Sox team can pull off a 10 game winning streak and play .700 ball - .620 ball, maybe - but not .700. I still think the team more likely to tank is NY and not TB - there are still ingredients for this in NY: nagging injuries, very leaky starting pitching, and before the 8 game NY W-streak I thought the bullpen was potential trouble in walking a ton of people, but it has come around some. They keep getting offense from Thames, Granderson and Swisher and they'll be more than fine. But when your starting pitching has been compromised, all hell can really start to break loose. That's the difference between the '06 Sox and '10 Sox - the latter's starters have largely been OK.

It won't happen - but with many games left before the 6 with NY, you have to hope. I would love to see another meaningful game this year, as they are fun to watch. That said, you won't find me staying up late to watch the west coast games this week.

#6 Pandemonium67

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 12:30 PM

Good heavens, are you still trying to win? You have an over-developed sense of vengeance. It's going to get you into trouble someday.

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#7 joe dokes

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 01:19 PM

The Rockies' crazy '07 finish, or the Orioles' '74 (just choose whatever unconscious hot comeback Sept team you want) are one way to go, or you can go with the "opponent's epic tank" model, like the'78 Red Sox and in some ways the '00 Yanks - maybe the '05 Cardinals, too who REALLY flirted with disaster before winning on the last weekend (and I shouldn't be leaving out the '07 &'08 Mets, huh?). The '78 Sox lost 14 of 17 in one stretch. The '00 Yanks I believe lost 15 of 18. Yikes - those are extended periods of bad play.

The thing is, these epic collapses come without warning. I think both those Red Sox and Yankee teams were playing quite well until the dive - it wasn't like there was some great harbinger of doom. Looking back you can probably see where the seams were starting to give, but in the moment I don't think there was some big warning bell going off for these clubs.

I like the "opponent tanks" model better now because I don't think this Sox team can pull off a 10 game winning streak and play .700 ball - .620 ball, maybe - but not .700. I still think the team more likely to tank is NY and not TB - there are still ingredients for this in NY: nagging injuries, very leaky starting pitching, and before the 8 game NY W-streak I thought the bullpen was potential trouble in walking a ton of people, but it has come around some. They keep getting offense from Thames, Granderson and Swisher and they'll be more than fine. But when your starting pitching has been compromised, all hell can really start to break loose. That's the difference between the '06 Sox and '10 Sox - the latter's starters have largely been OK.

It won't happen - but with many games left before the 6 with NY, you have to hope. I would love to see another meaningful game this year, as they are fun to watch. That said, you won't find me staying up late to watch the west coast games this week.


Those '78 NYYs also lost a 3.5 game lead they held on Sept. 16, while Sox went 12-3. (regular season, of course).

#8 Paul M


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Posted 09 September 2010 - 02:09 PM

As someone that can relate to having these crazy thoughts almost up until they are eliminated and still truly believed down 3-0 that if they just won that first game...I am still playing at home and projecting daily to see what could happen.

I have it as BOS 94, NY 97 and TB also at 97 after last night. If The Sox' best case is basically 16-6(take every series and sweep Bal at home which looks rather tough of late), then obviously we still need one of NY/TB to dominate the other to the tune of 5-2 or even better at 6-1. I must say all I'm really asking for is games that matter into the final weekend at this point. Maybe with younger, fresher legs patrolling 1B and LF and just by having a few more options they can go on a little run on the West Coast and get to a number that at least sounds possible like say 3 games out with 10 to play or something which I actually could see.

#9 jon abbey


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Posted 09 September 2010 - 02:23 PM

in some ways the '00 Yanks


It's a side note, but they're really not a good example, as they were the two-time defending champions and just seemed to get bored towards the end of the regular season, before once again turning it on in the postseason. They were never in any danger of losing the division lead, with at least a three game lead through all of August and September until the final two meaningless games:

http://www.baseball-...le-scores.shtml

#10 OttoC


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Posted 09 September 2010 - 02:35 PM

Since Pedey went on the disabled list on June 26th, the best record the Sox have compiled over any ten-game stretch has been 7-3, so letís say they are (sort of) realistically capable of going 16-6 over the last 22 games

They haven't done better than 8-2 in any ten-game stretch the entire season and the best they have done in any 22-game stretch is 16-6 (5/16-6/7, 5/17/6/8 and 5/22-6/19, 5/23-6/20). Something prompted me to track their streaks this season, so I'll add that the longest unbeaten streak the club had was 6-0, and that only happened once (part of their last 16-6 streak). I'm not sure this all means anything from a probablisitic point-of-view but the club simply hasn't had many extended winning or losing streaks. The worst they have done in any 22-game stretch was 9-13.

#11 Pandemonium67

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 02:58 PM

If the Sox find a way back into contention, that would be gravy. I surely don't expect it.

What I do hope is that their last 6 games against the wanks are meaningful. A few weeks ago I dreaded the idea that the wanks could eliminate the Sox during one of those series. Now I relish the possible opportunity for the Sox to knock the wanks out of first and into the Wild Card, which would put them on the road all the way through. That would please me greatly.

#12 YTF

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 03:21 PM

Dog, you're right. Stranger things have happened as we all know from the '04 ALCS. I still had hope until the Sox failed to sweep Tampa in their latest series. 2 out of 3 against this team is normally a reason to feel pleased, but that one loss/2 game swing is huge. I'm not totally writing off the season just yet however. As I mentioned in another thread, in the 2 upcoming Tampa vs NY series one team has lose AT LEAST 4 of those games. There's still some VERY cautious optimism if the Sox can somehow gain a game or two more in the mean time and the team losing 4 (or more) of those 7 Tampa-NY games is the one closest to the Sox in the standings. Take into consideration that during those 2 series, the Sox play Seattle and Baltimore (yes I know suddenly they're not THOSE Orioles) and I still hold on to a glimmer of hope. The problem now is that the Sox aren't only battling Tampa for the WC, but they're battling time as well. Each day sees one more precious game wiped of the schedule and if that game happens to be a loss........

And what the fuck is with all of this   shit that keeps popping up in our posts since the new format came into play? Any explanation? Just curious.

Edited by YTF, 09 September 2010 - 03:27 PM.


#13 OttoC


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Posted 09 September 2010 - 03:30 PM

Don't forget that the Red Sox only have a half-game lead over the other Sox who are also fighting for a Wild Card spot.

#14 gcapalbo

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 04:03 PM

Who indeed should care about realism, or likelihood, or even expectations at this point.

There are games to be played, and until that day that we are mathematically eliminated-- I like this kind of discussion quite a lot.

When the situation is reversed, and we are on top, the talk always is of the Yankee or others catching us, so why not go here.

Tampa bay for sure looked mortal-- we were one Dice-K start away from this being a more serious discussion.

My dream would be to catch and eliminate the Yankees on the last day of the season.

There will be a long cold winter upon us before long, so why not enjoy it all in the meantime.

#15 bob burda

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 10:23 PM

It's a side note, but they're really not a good example, as they were the two-time defending champions and just seemed to get bored towards the end of the regular season, before once again turning it on in the postseason. They were never in any danger of losing the division lead, with at least a three game lead through all of August and September until the final two meaningless games:

http://www.baseball-...le-scores.shtml


The issue isn't so much whether the teams I mentioned were in trouble or wound up in trouble (though to be sure, end of season dives have been known to cause trouble). The teams I had in mind were good teams who played just inexplicably terrible baseball for 2 to 2.5 weeks in Sept., and that Yankee team - playing .587 ball before finishing the season with a 3-15 stretch - did just that.

For me the thing that separates a team like the '64 Phillies (the ultimate tank artists, right?) from a team like the 2000 Yankees is that the Phillies' opponents (SF, CIN and STL) in large part played .667 ball down the stretch (STL was a little better going 11-4). If these clubs had all played .500 or so, the Phillies' execrable 3-11 stretch would have been them "getting bored or resting" before the WS too, and nobody would have said much about it. We could get into an interesting discussion about whether the other teams playing .667 ball caused the Phillies to press and go 3-11, but what I find more interesting is that the Phillies were a .600 team up to that time - yes, playing considerably over their Pythag - but a full 31 games over .500 before losing 11 of 14.

Ultimately, I don't really care why the 2000 Yankees played so badly in late Sept. - to my mind they didn't get the gag artist label because they had the good fortune to be chased by a shit team capable of playing little better than .500 ball (10-9). The fact remains that down the stretch that Yankee team played the way a .587 team should NEVER play. This gives me hope that either TB or the current Yankee team might also play the last 20 games in a way that good teams should never play.

#16 jon abbey


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Posted 09 September 2010 - 10:34 PM

Any team can collapse at any time, I don't think you need a single historical example to hold out hope for this year's Boston team, but again, citing that 2000 Yankee team is a mistake. They lost all of those games because it didn't matter whether they won them or not, you need to look at context and not their W/L record in a vacuum. You say "inexplicably terrible", to me it's very easy to explain. It happens all the time in basketball, championship contenders who know they'll be in the postseason getting bored towards the end of a meaningless regular season. It doesn't happen very often in baseball, but this is a case where it did. They didn't get the "gag artist" label because they were never challenged, and if they had been, they would have won more games. I was 100% convinced of this at the time, and still am.

#17 terrynever


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Posted 09 September 2010 - 10:56 PM

I was living 20 miles from Philly in 1964. Strange things happened to that team. They lost a 1-0 game to the Reds when Chico Ruiz stole home with Frank Robinson at the plate. That was their 151st game of the season. They lost their next nine games.

Gene Mauch started Jim Bunning and Chris Short 4 times each in the final 12 games, twice on two days' rest. Mauch didn't trust rookie Art Mahaffey or kooky lefthander Dennis Bennett.

If there is a link between those Phillies and this year's Yankees, it is in the starting pitching. Yanks right now have CC and the question marks vs. Bunning and Short and little more. Pettitte, who pitched four shutout innings for Trenton today, should lend CC a hand within a week.

The 1964 Phillies had an ordinary lineup outside of Richie Allen and Johnny Callison. The 2010 Yankees lead the majors in scoring by a large margin.

#18 Doctor G

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 09:19 AM

TB is facing a tough stretch while the Red Sox are playing on the coast. Tito can manage based on knowing the Rays result on a nightly basis. I would not be shocked to see the Red Sox 2.5 out a week from today.

#19 Gene Conleys Plane Ticket

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 09:31 AM

TB is facing a tough stretch while the Red Sox are playing on the coast. Tito can manage based on knowing the Rays result on a nightly basis. I would not be shocked to see the Red Sox 2.5 out a week from today.


In other words, it would not shock you if the Red Sox went 5-1 on this west coast swing, while the Rays go 1-5 against Toronto and New York (while playing NYY at home).

I really hope you're right!! But I have to admit, it would shock me. Pleasantly, of course, but it would be shocking nonetheless.

#20 bob burda

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 10:23 AM

I was living 20 miles from Philly in 1964. Strange things happened to that team. They lost a 1-0 game to the Reds when Chico Ruiz stole home with Frank Robinson at the plate. That was their 151st game of the season. They lost their next nine games.

Gene Mauch started Jim Bunning and Chris Short 4 times each in the final 12 games, twice on two days' rest. Mauch didn't trust rookie Art Mahaffey or kooky lefthander Dennis Bennett.

If there is a link between those Phillies and this year's Yankees, it is in the starting pitching. Yanks right now have CC and the question marks vs. Bunning and Short and little more. Pettitte, who pitched four shutout innings for Trenton today, should lend CC a hand within a week.

The 1964 Phillies had an ordinary lineup outside of Richie Allen and Johnny Callison. The 2010 Yankees lead the majors in scoring by a large margin.


To paraphrase Tolstoy, I bet most of the teams able to seal the deal and clinch after holding a commanding Sept. lead are similar, while each team that collapses does so in its own special way.

Worth noting about the '64 Phillies - they had their issues, but still had the best RS/RA differential in the league before the swoon. Maybe a BP style W3 stat would show that was an illusion too? While they were only 4 runs better than CIN's differential, and several other teams were close it, the 3-11 run still looks like a bolt out of the blue. I agree with the statement that goes "it can happen at anytime."

So much of this is timing - if SD had lost their 10 straight a week from now it makes a big difference. And I still disagree with Jon Abbey - his "meh, we were just playing out the string" analysis could account for why a good team might play .400 ball, but not .200 ball, for two to three weeks.

#21 jon abbey


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Posted 10 September 2010 - 10:32 AM

And I still disagree with Jon Abbey - his "meh, we were just playing out the string" analysis could account for why a good team might play .400 ball, but not .200 ball, for two to three weeks.


I hate to dwell on this, but did you look at the scores? It was more than just closing 3-15, eight of those losses were 11-1, 15-4, 16-3, 15-4, 11-1, 11-3, 13-2 and 9-1, and none of those to playoff teams.

#22 Scott Cooper

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 10:33 AM

I still hold out hope that we are still in this thing, but the only thing that troubles me is that this Red Sox team has not shown me the ability to put wins together.

Splitting at home to the tribe - swept by the White Sox.

I would love to see them go to the playoffs, but it doesn't matter what TB and NYY do if we can't put together a nice string of wins.

Although I would love to see it happen, and I love meaningful baseball games.

#23 terrynever


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Posted 10 September 2010 - 01:05 PM

To paraphrase Tolstoy, I bet most of the teams able to seal the deal and clinch after holding a commanding Sept. lead are similar, while each team that collapses does so in its own special way.

Worth noting about the '64 Phillies - they had their issues, but still had the best RS/RA differential in the league before the swoon. Maybe a BP style W3 stat would show that was an illusion too? While they were only 4 runs better than CIN's differential, and several other teams were close it, the 3-11 run still looks like a bolt out of the blue. I agree with the statement that goes "it can happen at anytime."

So much of this is timing - if SD had lost their 10 straight a week from now it makes a big difference. And I still disagree with Jon Abbey - his "meh, we were just playing out the string" analysis could account for why a good team might play .400 ball, but not .200 ball, for two to three weeks.

The 2010 Padres remind me of the 1964 Phillies except they lost 10 in a row in late August/early September. They at least have time to come back. The Phillies won their final two games of 1964. They swooned at the worst possible time, with 12 games left.

What's amazing about the 2000 Yankees is how they turned it on in the playoffs after falling behind 2-0 to the A's. I tend to go with JA on this one. They may not have been bored but they were looking ahead to the playoffs, getting people healthy, trying to have the pitching staff ready for another long postseason run.

The first danger zone for the 2010 Yankees came two weeks ago with the rotation in shambles. They won eight in a row. Here comes the second danger zone -- six games with Texas and Tampa. They need two wins. The eight-game winning streak afforded them this kind of cushion.

Edited by terrynever, 10 September 2010 - 01:14 PM.


#24 HriniakPosterChild

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 07:02 PM

TB is facing a tough stretch while the Red Sox are playing on the coast. Tito can manage based on knowing the Rays result on a nightly basis. I would not be shocked to see the Red Sox 2.5 out a week from today.

We are running out of games. How should Tito manage differently based on knowing TB's result? Don't the Sox need to win every game, regardless of whether TB wins or loses, just to have a slim chance of making the playoffs?

Edit: ŅPunctuation?

Edited by HriniakPosterChild, 10 September 2010 - 07:04 PM.


#25 Pumpsie


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Posted 10 September 2010 - 08:52 PM

To paraphrase Tolstoy, I bet most of the teams able to seal the deal and clinch after holding a commanding Sept. lead are similar, while each team that collapses does so in its own special way.


Well done! Let's hope that this season doesn't end like that book...under a train.

#26 86spike


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Posted 12 September 2010 - 06:49 AM

Well done! Let's hope that this season doesn't end like that book...under a train.


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#27 bob burda

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 09:40 AM

Well done! Let's hope that this season doesn't end like that book...under a train.

Thanks for the praise - but the "collapse" candidates here are TB and the MFYs, so I very much hope their seasons wind up chained to the tracks in front of a steaming locomotive. I'd be happy to settle for a gentle slip and fall under an oncoming bus, though. Cue the "under the bus" picture.....

#28 barbed wire Bob


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Posted 13 September 2010 - 10:02 AM

I'd be happy to settle for a gentle slip and fall under an oncoming bus, though. Cue the "under the bus" picture.....

Here you go.
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#29 Eric Van


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Posted 13 September 2010 - 05:17 PM

The Rays' remaining schedule is a full two games easier than the Yankees', so once again we come back to the MFYs being the team the miracle would happen to.

I've already been watching the games as if the season were over. If we can pick up two games in the next three days, though, then it becomes interesting again. And of course a Rays sweep of the Yankees would augur well for the MFYs further struggles. Sabathia / Price, Nova / Garza, Hughes / Shields ... there isn't a matchup that clearly favors NY.

BTW, if the Yankees end up taking 4 of 7 from TB there's a good chance that they would both finish with 98 wins and they'd be tied head-to-head as well. In which case the second tie-breaker is AL East W/L and the Rays currently have the edge there. So the Yankees have an uphill road to win the division.

The cool thing is that even though the final series in Fenway will almost certainly be meaningless to us, the odds are pretty good that it will determine whether the MFYs have the home-field advantage until the WS, or will never have it at all. Small consolation but it's better than nothing.

#30 Buffalo Head

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 09:48 PM

If the Red Sox can just hold up their end of the bargain, those Yankees games in New York, at the minimum, are going to mean something.

#31 Eric Van


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Posted 15 September 2010 - 11:22 AM

If the Red Sox can just hold up their end of the bargain, those Yankees games in New York, at the minimum, are going to mean something.

If NY only ends up winning 3 of 7 against TB, absolutely.

And what's interesting is that the pitching matchups favor NY the first 2 games and then us the last 4, assuming that they flip-flop Dice-K and Lester after the Thursday off day (which will line up Lester rather than Dice-K to start the final Fenway series):

Pettitte (2nd start after coming off the DL) v. Beckett
Nova v. Matsuzaka
Hughes v. Lester

Nova v. Lester
Hughes v. Buchholz
Burnett v. Lackey

If we swept and forced a 1-game play-in, it would be Sabathia v. Beckett.

Incidentally, the TB / NY series in the Bronx should include 3 rematches:

Nova v. Garza
Hughes v. Shields
Burnett v. Davis
Sabathia v. Price

Edited by Eric Van, 15 September 2010 - 11:25 AM.


#32 The Gray Eagle


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Posted 15 September 2010 - 11:29 AM

NY and Tampa have stumbled a bit-- NY 3-7 in their last 10, TB 4-6. But the Red Sox didn't take advantage, only going 5-5 themselves.

That long September winning streak I was hoping against hope for just never materialized. If it had, and we had gone 9-1 the last 10 games, like the Twins have, then we'd be right in the thick of the race, even after all the injuries and blown games.

Losing 5 of 6 against the White Sox in Fenway and the A's in Oakland was really damaging-- I'm sure most hopeful Boston fans had penciled in an optimistic 4 wins in those 6 games, but we only got one. Winning those two series would have put us 4 behind NY right now with 6 head to head games left. So despite all the troubles this year, we were still alive until that horrible doubleheader sweep at home, topped off by the blown 9th inning the next day.

We're only 7-6 in September. I guess if we somehow miraculously went 15-2 the rest of the way, we'd be right there for the wild card, but I just can't see this team putting that kind of miracle run together. 10 of the 17 games left are against good teams, NY and Chi, and the others are against Toronto, who has a winning record, and Baltimore, who is 8-5 this month and have won 13 of their last 20.

At least we still have a shot at winning 90 games. After the Chicago series, I thought we were going to tailspin badly and fall well below that. Could still happen actually, but the last three games have helped with that goal. We need to go at 9-8 the rest of the way to finish with 90 wins.

I think the Youkilis injury was the one that we couldn't overcome in the end, in combination with all the others, plus the bullpen just never getting better. It was just too much to lose that kind of hitter with all the other losses.

#33 Paul M


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Posted 15 September 2010 - 12:47 PM

Even if the Sox had just taken one more in Oakland and not pissed that game away against the White Sox which was a really bad loss, I'd be feeling ok. I also agree Youkilis' injury was the killer since they really had no one to pick up the slack as Lowell was barely able to function as a platoon DH and now he's thrust into the role of regualr 1B.

My latest silly projected wins:

Sox 94, Yanks 96, TB, 98

Between now and 9/17: Sox 6-1, NY 4-4

Which means they will be 4 games out going into NY which would pretty amazing considering everything. A win today makes 4 straight which is something that happened only one other time in the 2nd half. Actually, only 2 streaks of 5+ all year. They just never really were able to get all 5 starters humming at once. Anyway, it's not over quite yet.

#34 Buffalo Head

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 09:20 PM

It is on. It is so very on.

#35 bob burda

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 09:24 PM

Don't look now, but with tonight's Yankee loss, the Sox control their own destiny again, for the first time since they lost the 2nd game of the series at Tampa.

The job of getting to within 3 of NY before the final weekend is still daunting, but not nearly as unlikely as before.
Anybody else think the MFY's have another 2-8 run left in them?...we can hope.

#36 El Tiante

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 09:28 PM

I have to admit, I'm still scoreboard watching. I'm not ready for baseball to "go gentle into that good night". (In Boston anyway)

#37 Savin Hillbilly


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Posted 15 September 2010 - 09:41 PM

Anybody else think the MFY's have another 2-8 run left in them?...we can hope.

I'm not as worried about the Yanks' capacity to shit the bed as I am about our capacity to take advantage.

But I am more hopeful now than I have been in a while....dammit.



#38 BannedbyNYYFans.com

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 09:52 PM



#39 Buffalo Head

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 10:37 PM

I felt the best-case scenario over the past six games was Sox 4-2, Yankees 2-4. The Yankees went 1-5. Now they go to Baltimore for 3 and home for 4 against Tampa. 3-4? I still think that's reasonable. Sox at home for 3 with Toronto, 3 with Baltimore. I'll take 4-2. That lowers the deficit in the loss column to 4 when the Sox hit New York Sept. 24. Now they don't need to sweep. 2 of 3 brings them within 3 with 3 at home to end the season.

This is all very doable. Basically, from here, Sox 12-4 (5-1 vs. Yanks), Yankees 6-10 (1-5 vs. Sox), and a 1-game playoff.

#40 Eric Van


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Posted 16 September 2010 - 01:56 AM

I've just calculated Component ERA, with neutral and actual BABIP, for everyone on both staffs since the ASB (ignoring pitcher pickoffs, WP, and balks, since I don't have that data for the Yankees). For each of the six matchups, here's the neutral version, the actual version, and then the average (figuring that half the BABIP difference from average is real).

Beckett (4.55 / 4.99 = 4.77) vs. Pettitte (???)
Matsuzaka (4.62 / 4.53 = 4.58) vs. Nova (5.06 / 4.92 = 4.99)
Lester (2.99 / 3.45 = 3.22) vs. Hughes (5.46 / 5.02 = 5.24)

Lester (2.99 / 3.45 = 3.22) vs. Nova (5.06 / 4.92 = 4.99)
Buchholz (3.51 / 2.81 = 3.16) vs. Hughes (5.46 / 5.02 = 5.24)
Lackey (3.37 / 3.63 = 3.50) vs. Burnett (4.09 / 5.21 = 4.65)

The Yankees also have Moseley (5.58 / 4.90 = 5.24) and Vazquez (7.39 / 7.78 = 7.58) as options.

BP and CoolStandings will take into account the fact that we have two aces and they have one. They will absolutely not take into account the fact that our two aces our starting three times while they're ace isn't starting once.

The joker in the deck, of course, is the potential play-in game:

Beckett (4.55 / 4.99 = 4.77) vs. Sabathia (3.10 / 3/16 = 3.13)

#41 Flynn4ever

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 02:09 AM

ELO has us at a 2.9% chance of making the playoffs, whereas PECOTA has us at below a 2% chance. Whatever, I like those odds! :)

#42 jon abbey


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Posted 16 September 2010 - 02:32 AM

It's kind of obvious that NY isn't too worried about Boston, since if they were, they easily could have held Sabathia until Monday (2 extra days), so he'd be in line to pitch in not just the TB series but also both Boston series. That's what I would have done, anyway.

#43 Sam Ray Not

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 06:28 AM

Edes confuses himself on the subject:

So, even if the Yankees lost all six games they have left with the Red Sox, if they split their remaining 10 games against other opponents, the Sox would have to go 11-5 just to tie.

So, hold off on those October plans for now...


:unsure:

Six games back, with six head-to-heads, Gordon. Call me crazy, but it seems to me the Yankees might want to consider trying to win at least one of those six games.

#44 RingoOSU


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Posted 16 September 2010 - 08:03 AM

Translation: If the yankees split those other 10 games, the Sox have to split them too.

#45 gcapalbo

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 08:14 AM

The most important thing in all of this is the "control your own destiny" part.

It's more than anyone could have hoped for a week ago.

Considering everything that's happened, just the mere fact that the Yankees are not just thinking about cruising into the playoffs, rested at the moment is a huge thing.

Just a better outcome for us in the Oakland and Pale Hose series, and this would be a real race with three teams to the finish right now.

... depending on how things go, it still might be.

#46 BroodsSexton

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 08:31 AM

It's a side note, but they're really not a good example, as they were the two-time defending champions and just seemed to get bored towards the end of the regular season, before once again turning it on in the postseason. They were never in any danger of losing the division lead, with at least a three game lead through all of August and September until the final two meaningless games:

It's kind of obvious that NY isn't too worried about Boston, since if they were, they easily could have held Sabathia until Monday (2 extra days), so he'd be in line to pitch in not just the TB series but also both Boston series. That's what I would have done, anyway.

You may be right in this instance that they are not worried, but your tendency to see it as "kind of obvious" that the Yankees can, in effect, win any game they want if they only care a little bit more or make different managerial decisions is annoying. The games have to be played.

Edited by BroodsSexton, 16 September 2010 - 08:37 AM.


#47 bosockboy


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Posted 16 September 2010 - 08:54 AM

Pretty simple....sweep these six against Toronto and Baltimore and it will officially be interesting.

#48 Max Power


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Posted 16 September 2010 - 09:02 AM

Edes confuses himself on the subject:



:unsure:

Six games back, with six head-to-heads, Gordon. Call me crazy, but it seems to me the Yankees might want to consider trying to win at least one of those six games.


Seems like Gordon forgot those six wins against the Yankees are already included in the 11-5. Since I'm a sucker and sent the Red Sox my $1,500 for potential playoff tickets, I'm pretty happy these games could mean something. I just think it would be hilarious to see a playoff team with Lars Anderson, Jed Lowrie, Ryan Kalish, and Daniel Nava in the starting lineup. If they won the World Series, the entire Paw Sox roster should get a share of the bonus.

#49 jon abbey


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Posted 16 September 2010 - 09:36 AM

You may be right in this instance that they are not worried, but your tendency to see it as "kind of obvious" that the Yankees can, in effect, win any game they want if they only care a little bit more or make different managerial decisions is annoying. The games have to be played.


That first comment was about the 2000 Yankees, not this year's version, which was entirely different circumstances and the two shouldn't be combined.

And there's no question that the 2010 version has played differently the last week or so then they would have if they had six or eight less wins. For instance, if Girardi felt it was essential to win last night, he would have brought in Boone Logan to face Johnson, just as he's done all year, and not worried about his recent overuse. That doesn't necessarily mean it would have worked, but it's been working for months now (Logan's numbers against lefties are stunning since his last callup).

I think you misunderstand my meaning on the second comment, obviously Sabathia gives them by far their best shot to win a game, and since it would be easy to line him up for the Boston series, their level of worry is obviously low to nonexistent, which I thought was worth noting.

Just to be clear, I personally disagree with this, have never counted Boston out, have had a few arguments to that effect in the Yankee section with both NY and Boston fans, and if I was making the decisions, would hold CC back two days so he could pitch in both Boston series in addition to next week's TB series.

#50 TomRicardo


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Posted 16 September 2010 - 10:23 AM

That first comment was about the 2000 Yankees, not this year's version, which was entirely different circumstances and the two shouldn't be combined.

And there's no question that the 2010 version has played differently the last week or so then they would have if they had six or eight less wins. For instance, if Girardi felt it was essential to win last night, he would have brought in Boone Logan to face Johnson, just as he's done all year, and not worried about his recent overuse. That doesn't necessarily mean it would have worked, but it's been working for months now (Logan's numbers against lefties are stunning since his last callup).

I think you misunderstand my meaning on the second comment, obviously Sabathia gives them by far their best shot to win a game, and since it would be easy to line him up for the Boston series, their level of worry is obviously low to nonexistent, which I thought was worth noting.

Just to be clear, I personally disagree with this, have never counted Boston out, have had a few arguments to that effect in the Yankee section with both NY and Boston fans, and if I was making the decisions, would hold CC back two days so he could pitch in both Boston series in addition to next week's TB series.


You have been saying it right along. There is zero urgency with the Yankees. That said they are a bit banged up and Girardi is using this time try to get his eggs in order for the playoffs. They also suck terribly against left handers which is going to hurt them in the playoffs.

I wonder if Girardi would be in the hot seat if they blow it. Does 1 WS title make up for only one playoff appearance in 3 years for the Yankees?